One of the worst things ever is being on a plane with open seating, and having someone walk up and look at you and the open middle seat next to you and say, May I sit there?  It's not like they are really asking your permission; they know their rights as a passenger.  It's all up to you.

Now some people are blatant. They put a coat on the seat, a bag, make it look like someone is already sitting there. This is the passive aggressive approach.  I don't like this one because it's a little lame and when the plane starts to fill up, it makes the other passenger feel bad to have to ask.

I prefer a much more direct approach. It's ALL in the attitude.

There are a couple ways to do this, and some require more work than others.

  • Angry.  Just look really pissed off.  Avoid eye contact.  Tap the plane window.  Get in a pretend conversation on your phone with someone and make it sound very tense.  "You have GOT to be kidding me. This deal is OVER.  I will make sure it's OVER.  Tell Clooney he'll never work again"   NO ONE wants to sit by you.
  • Crazy.  Look people straight in the eye. Ask them to sit next to you, over and over again.  Act like you want to get to know them and are looking forward to it!  Might not work as well as angry because some people thrive on this, but I think it has potential.
  • Avoidance.  Head down, reading a book. Everything will interrupt you.  Nothing is worth you stopping reading your book.  When you do look up, it is with a stare that says "what's your problem"
  • Talkative.  Get into a conversation on your phone.  Talk about your mother in law, your cat, your dog, your life in general.  Be loud. Make sure everyone around you knows about your life too.  Be slightly controversial - bring up abortion (50/50 chance it's a problem); then gun control (20/80), you get the idea
  • OMG. Bring onboard the smelliest food you can find.  Tuna, salmon, onions, wings.  Dig in while boarding is going on. Be sure to smear some food on your face and make sure your fingers are covered in sauce.  Offer it to your neighbors.
  • Fragrant.  This is not one I would use because it goes against my principles as a traveler.  But load up on perfume, aftershave, you get the picture.  People will RUN AWAY.

This is my best advice.  Try out a few of them and see which one best works for you, and remember, an empty middle seat at the very least increases your room by 50% and maybe more!

AuthorJeannette Kocsis


As I am planning my wardrobe for this week's travel,  I am trying to pack light these days.  This is dependent on whether I have a long flight, but looking at what is in my bag, I have the business clothes I need for my presentation and 2 sets of casual clothes for my travel days. And that makes my bag heavier to bring different shoes, jackets, etc.

When I was very young (yes, it was the 60's), my grandparents were flying to California. Growing up in upstate New York, and being very young, we were as excited as they were.  I remember going to the airport and waiting with them, and then watching them walk up the stairs onto the plane. Which looked very big to me at the time, but it couldn't have been as I think about  the size of the Binghamton, NY airport.  But what I remember most was my grandmother. She looked like she was going to a tea party, in her stockings and heels, black coat, I think even a perky hat.  Back then, traveling on an airplane was an event!  You dressed up for it!
I am usually upgraded to first class now, and sitting in this exclusive area, I am usually surrounded by people in all types of clothing. Some business people in suits; depending on destination, almost always some young women in very short shorts and skirts (don't they freeze? - or is that me? :)); jeans and sport coats are common; women in track suits; basically all over the place. 
We are paying somewhere between $200 and $1500 for an airplane ticket these days.  And maybe an average flying time of an hour to two hours (international travelers more). Pretty expensive to show up looking like you're spending the day on the couch. Maybe it's because we are sitting with perfect strangers - although you never know who you will meet.
One of my colleagues almost never "dresses down" for travel days because she feels there is something special about sitting in First Class.  I feel the same way about feeling special. I just need to figure out how to wear my comfy yoga pants, moccasins and still look fabulous.  :)



AuthorJeannette Kocsis